Have a go at… Easter Baking with Shelly Preston
With a 50 strong crowd of ladies (and the odd gent), the Welbeck Farm Shop was alive with a buzz of excitable chatter and gentle 80s beats; as foodie smells danced in the air.
I took three friends along to the evening (these demos make for a fabulous evening out), and with a glass of fizz on arrival, and a generous portion of coconut dusted marshmallow (I’m not ashamed to say I had two helpings), we settled into our seats and waited for the show to begin.
Shelly Preston (owner of Boutique Aromatique – last year’s charming little addition to the Welbeck Farm Shop foyer), and her two glamorous assistants (Jess a third year patisserie graduate and BAromatique rising star, and Kirsty a charming waitress on hand for the evening) rattled through an impressive amount of recipes within the two scheduled hours, and still left me wanting more.
We were treated to a gorgeous array of Easter inspired creations, from chocolate ganache dippy egg and shortbread soldiers, to a refreshing lemongrass beverage (great for children, even better with rum for the adults!). The final showstopper was a lemon sponge cushioned together with lavender infused cream and macerated berries.
Strong scents of lemongrass, chai tea infused cream, and lavender filled the room; and the evening provided a true sensory experience, with the audience invited to use touch, taste and sight at every opportunity.
The dishes created were brimming with feminine flavours and natural herbs and flowers (Shelly has a background in aromatherapy and a passion for all natural eco-friendly ingredients) with the main emphasis this time being on lavender, lemon and natural sugars.
The most amazing spectacle of the evening was the chance to taste a simnel inspired ice-cream made on the spot – no cooking required. Using techniques which Shelly had picked up from ice cream queen Kitty Travers (a teacher at The School of Artisan Food, Welbeck) – and with help from the audience, ice-cream was ready to taste within half an hour of starting the process, a true triumph and one to definitely try at home.
Shelly’s no nonsense, fuss free recipes of the evening were offered up via email, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the experience, rather than frantically scribbling down notes. Shelly answered questions throughout with her expertise in the patisserie field, and offered loving anecdotes and sweet hints & tips we could all use at home.
Shelly has a wonderfully warm presenting style, appearing almost ethereal with soft whispery tones and a delicate touch, keeping the audience engaged throughout.
A magnificent hostess; she ensured everyone was well looked after throughout the evening, paying special attention to younger members of the audience who were invited to get hands on at all stages.
We left feeling our appetite for all things sweet had been satisfied, and as an additional bonus, were treated to a delightful 10% off all Boutique Aromatique products – I came away with my fair share of treats, and could easily have stocked up on more.
The Welbeck Farm Shop has more demonstrations planned throughout the year, with upcoming meet & greet experiences (one with Shelly herself is set to be enjoyed on July 19).
If you would like to know more about the recipes mentioned in this blog, why not pop along to see Shelly? I’m sure she would be happy to share her sweet success with you.